If you are a writer, chances are that at some point you’ve either had someone copy your work and not give you credit or (worse) had someone copy your work and present it as their work. While you probably can’t keep it from ever happening to you, there are definite measures you can take to achieve copyright protection and make sure that your copyright is defended online. Remember, creative works including writing, artwork, video and photographs are easy to steal with only a few clicks of a mouse. However, there are many things you can do to help protect your online content.
Most of the time the above steps will do a decent job of protecting your content. But what if *gasp* you find that your content HAS been stolen/used without your permission?
Compromise is an Option if Your Work has Been Copied
Prevention really is the best way to go when dealing with online copyright issues. However, sometimes you can come to a compromise (like having the other site owner properly credit you for your work). And when talking about written work it’s always possible that the person saw an article you wrote which sparked them to write their own article, and they ended up utilizing many of your keywords and phrases. Similarly, it never hurts to run your own writing through a plagiarism checker before posting to keep yourself in the clear.
Or, you may have a situation like I did recently. I’d written an article and submitted it to be posted. I didn’t know when it would actually be published, and I did a post-submission plagiarism check on it. With innocent expectations, I was MORTIFIED to find that my work matched another article almost word-for-word! In a panic, I clicked the first link of the suspected copied material and began to read quickly as the page loaded. Yes, it took me to the plagiarized article all right! It was the article … that I had just written, and that had JUST BEEN PUBLISHED. So, yes, it identified a very similar article – my own!
Whether you are protecting your content from being copied or making sure you are not copying someone else’s content, it is important to understand copyrights and how to both prevent and protect your content. It is your hard work so it is worth protecting.
Have you ever had your work copied? How did you deal with it?